I Went to Detox – Do I Still Need Addiction Treatment Dear Rae?

detox and on mountaintop

Dear Rae: I just got out of Detox and I feel pretty solid. Do I still need to go to an addiction treatment program? L.J.

Dear L.J:

In a word, yes. You need some type of addiction treatment program or intensive therapy after a stay in a detox unit. The purpose of detox is to rid the body of alcohol or drugs in a physically safe way. You are feeling “solid” because you have been medically stablized. And you are probably feeling relieved that you are getting professional help.  But detox is not treatment. Think of it as the first step to getting well.


What is Detox?

Not everyone who goes into treatment needs to go to a detox unit. But in some cases medical stabilization is necessary to safely admit someone into an addiction treatment program. Factors that play into the need for detoxification include: the amount, frequency and duration of substance use. It also depends on your drug of choice. At Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers we make these determinations at the initial Screening and Assessment. 


Detox addresses the physical aspect of addiction. Treatment addresses the emotional pain that underlies substance use. 


In fact, it is important to go straight from the detox unit to some type of program. Here’s why – withdrawal from addictive substances reduces tolerance. And if you’ve been through detox, you can become impacted more quickly and intensely by your substance of choice. You are at risk of overdose. Do not be fooled by how good you are feeling at the moment – there are emotional triggers and cravings ahead. And without the proper tools to address these bumps in the road, you are vulnerable to relapse.


Options for addiction treatment:

There are many options for addiction treatment. From working with an individual therapist who is qualified in treating addiction to a lengthy stay in a residential treatment center. There are also Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP); full-day programs; and classes in relapse prevention, early recovery and mindfulness that necessitate different levels of care. Sanford admissions and assessments help determine what might be the best or most appropriate fit for every client.


detox man walking


Just the beginning of life in recovery…

Detox is not the end of the story, rather the beginning. Your body has been stabilized, but both your mind and body still have healing to do. The fact that you are feeling good now does not mean you can simply resume everyday life because you are now sober. This is the time to learn coping strategies to deal with the inevitable cravings. And treatment/therapy you receive will help equip you to deal with the normal stresses of everyday life – free of addictive substances

Rae Green, JD, LPC, CAADC


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Rae Allyson Green, JD, MA, LPC, CAADC, is the Founder & President of Sanford Behavioral Health. After extensive experience working in residential treatment centers, Rae sought a new treatment approach for addiction and co-occurring disorders. Together with husband, David Green, she established Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers in 2015. Their mission was to elevate the effectiveness and availability of treatment for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUDs). Today, Sanford is an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving the state of Michigan and beyond.